221B Baker Street - London, UK
Posted by: Gryffindor3
N 51° 31.423 W 000° 09.505
30U E 697121 N 5711894
Quick Description: As the fictional home of detective Sherlock Holmes, a museum now shows how he and Watson might have lived.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/4/2009 11:58:10 AM
Waymark Code: WM6H5J
The following information is from Wikipedia:
The street number 221B has never been assigned to any property in Baker Street. In the period during which the Sherlock Holmes stories are set, street numbers in Baker Street only went up to No 100, which was presumably why Conan Doyle chose the fictional number.
The part now encompassing 221 Baker Street was known in Conan Doyle's lifetime as Upper Baker Street, and in the first manuscript, Conan Doyle put Holmes's home in "Upper Baker Street", indicating that if he had a house in mind it would have been in the section north of Marylebone Road, near Regent's Park. However, a British crime novelist named Nigel Moreland claimed that late in Conan Doyle's life, he identified a spot where Baker Street intersected George Street, several blocks south of Marylebone Road, as the location of 221b. Either way, when street numbers were re-allocated in the 1930s, the block of odd numbers from 219 to 229 was assigned to an Art Deco building known as Abbey House, constructed in 1932 for the Abbey Road Building Society (subsequently called Abbey National and now simply Abbey), which the company occupied until 2002.
Almost immediately, the building society started receiving correspondence by Sherlock Holmes fans from all over the world, in such volumes that it appointed a permanent "secretary to Sherlock Holmes" to deal with it. A bronze plaque on the front of Abbey House carries a picture of Holmes and Conan Doyle's narrative detailing Holmes and Watson moving in at 221B. In 1999, Abbey National sponsored the creation of a bronze statue of Sherlock Holmes that now stands at the entrance to Baker Street tube station.
Holmes scholars have had a number of theories as to the "real" address. With much of Baker Street devastated during The Blitz, little trace is left of the original buildings, and most of them are post-war, except those in what was known as Upper Baker Street.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum is housed in an 1815 house similar to the fictional 221B, physically located at 239 Baker Street. Its postal address held on the Post Office database is 221b Baker Street, NW1 6XE. Opened in 1990, it displays exhibits in period rooms, wax figures and Holmes memorabilia. Both Abbey House and the Sherlock Holmes Museum declared themselves to be the "real" 221B: the outcome of a dispute between the two in 1994, when the museum applied unsuccessfully for permission to renumber itself 221. Today both have a claim: Abbey House is where 221B "could have been" and the museum is where Sherlock Holmes's post is delivered.
According to the published stories, "221b Baker Street" was a suite of rooms on the first floor of a lodging house above a flight of 17 steps. The main study overlooked Baker Street, and Holmes's bedroom was adjacent to this room at the rear of the house, with Dr Watson's bedroom being on the 2nd floor, overlooking a rear yard that had a plain tree in it.
The Museum adopted the street number '221b' from the time it opened to the public, but it faced significant bureaucratic hurdles in getting official acceptance of its claims to being the real '221b Baker Street', as described in the stories.
In order to physically display the number "221b" on its front door without falling foul of planning regulations, it had to register a company called "221b Ltd", because companies do not require planning permission to display a company name on the entrance to a building.
This ruse did not go down well with local planning officers, particularly Westminster City Council's Street Naming and Numbering Officer.
After the closure of Abbey House, the museum insisted on having any post addressed to Sherlock Holmes delivered to its premises.
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